Prime Minister Robert Abela said that the government’s efforts to stop the intake of irregular migrants are being compromised by the magisterial inquiry which looked into whether he, a brigadier, and the crew of an Armed Forced of Malta patrol boat are responsible for the death of five migrants at sea.
“We do all we can to fight this problem, but there are locals who try and undermine our work,“ Abela said on ONE TV talk show ‘Pjazza’. “We want to do more, but we are conditioned by the magisterial inquiry.”
The inquiry in question, led by Magistrate Joe Mifsud, was launched last April, after five migrants were found dead on a boat in Maltese waters.
Civil society NGO Repubblika filed a police complaint about such incident, thus triggering the inquiry.
Having said that, just over a month after the complaints were filed, Abela, the brigadier, and the patrol boat crew were collectively cleared of homicide charges.
During his interview on Pjazza, Abela also alleged that the numbers of migrants being let in this year are relatively less when compared to previous years – as a result of his work to minimise irregular migration.
“If we weren’t doing our utmost, we wouldn’t have so many boats being sent back to Libya or taken to Lampedusa.”
Abela went on to speak out against the European Union for its alleged inaction in helping Malta deal with the migration crisis.
“The EU’s solidarity is there in words, but not in actions. No one apart from the Italians came to save the migrants – the EU would have let them drown.”
The PM also criticised the EU for advising Malta to integrate the migrant COVID-19 numbers with the rest of the active cases.